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First Red Flag Warning for Cedar Rapids

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28): The National Weather Service issued the first ever Red Flag Warning for the Cedar Rapids area.

But that warning didn't stop a small fire crew from igniting flames in Hickory Hill Park.

"It's a nice dry day," Will Downey said. "A little too dry and a little too windy if you were burning in a grassland or prairie."

Meteorologists typically issue a Red Flag Warning when they are expecting dry and windy conditions with low humidity. These conditions can lead to extreme fire danger. 

The Cedar Rapids Fire Department has seen more grass fires recently.

"We have had a couple grass fires in the last few days and it doesn't take much to get things going," The Cedar Rapids Chief Battalion David Brown said.

The crew continued to ignite flames throughout a small fraction of the park to get rid of dead brush and prevent further fire damage.

"It's very cost effective. Ultimately [the fire] helps get native plants into a traditional, historic fire region."

With fire warnings in place for over 47 counties in Iowa, Downey and his crew believed that they couldn't have picked a better date or time to ignite flames in the park.

The National Weather Service told CBS 2 that the last time a recorded Red Flag Warning was in place for eastern Iowa was back in 2009. That warning wasn't specifically for the Cedar Rapids area which is why today marks the first in history.

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